Selling your home in the winter months can be quite the challenge; especially in areas prone to snow and ice. Prospective buyers are likely less motivated to shop around in bad weather, plus they’re generally a lot busier with new year activities.
However, that means one thing for you as the seller: The traffic you do get is going to be highly motivated to buy.
If you’re forced to list your home during the winter, all is definitely not lost! Follow these seasonal home selling tips to get that home sold before spring arrives.
You’ll be working with less natural light in the winter months. To compensate for that, you’ll want to pull back the shades and make everything sparkle. Pay special attention to the windows and the areas near the entrance, because you can bet your prospective buyers will. Clean out cobwebs, wash window surfaces, sweep out the entry areas and minimize the clutter.
Let in the light
Now that the windows are spic-and-span, pull back the curtains, window treatments, and blinds to let that soft natural light in. If you’re still battling dark corners and shadows, add lamps for a warm glow.
Don’t forget the light outside. Because the available daylight hours shrink during the winter months, you may be hosting shoppers after the sun goes down. Add walkway lighting, or clean up any existing lights so they sparkle. Change the lightbulb in any sconce outside your doors so that the light is bright enough to see but not harsh.
Make it feel like home
Winter weather makes prospective home buyers dream of cozying up in front of the fire with hot chocolate and warm cookies fresh from the oven. Capitalize on that by feeding your visitors with seasonal treats. A platter of cookies and a carafe of hot cocoa or coffee will perk your potential buyers right up.
Put up a little decor, by all means! Just be mindful that not every visitor will share your faith or beliefs, so consider keeping the decor scheme neutral and universally appealing. Twinkle lights, electric window candles, and wreaths with natural elements such as berries, twigs, and raffia are all great choices.
And don’t forget the temperature in your home. If you typically enjoy a cool environment, consider increasing your thermostat to 70 degrees an hour or so before a showing so that visitors will feel warm and toasty, not cold and frosty.
Keep your home maintenance up-to-date
Speaking of keeping your prospective buyers warm and toasty, don’t forget to check off all the tasks on your winter home maintenance list:
- Inspect and clean your chimney, if you have one. Or call in a professional, if you prefer.
- Take a close look at the insulation in your attic and patch up any gaps.
- Winterizing your home’s water pipes will keep them from freezing and bursting.
- If you feel any draft or moisture seeping in from doors or windows, seal them up to keep in the warm air and reduce drafts.
Be mindful of safety
Preparing your home for sale also means making sure that your home and the surrounding premises are safe for visitors. That’s especially true during winter, when ice and snow increase the risk of slips and falls.
Shovel all sideways, walkways and steps where necessary, then spread a layer of salt to keep the surface free of ice and snow.
Watch your listing price
When the foot traffic diminishes in winter, many home sellers feel pressured to slash their listing price. Try to resist that urge. After all, your listing price should have been set with your agent’s assistance based on hard data, such as comparable sales and the current market activity for your area.
Instead, keep your price where it is and market your home more assertively. Use social media to expand your reach by posting your home’s listing to Twitter and Instagram. And don’t skimp on your home photos. Skilled real estate photographers can make just about any home look beautiful, so share those images widely.